Lay judges / Schöffen

2004 is the year when Schöffen (lay judges / lay assessors) are elected in Germany (via Handakte WebLAWg). The German Ministry of Justice has some further links.

The Schöffen are not like jurors. They are chosen for a four-year period (I think – 2005 to 2008), have to be German and between 25 and 69 years old, and will sit in small panels with one or more professional judges. They will sit in the same combination repeatedly, so they will get to know the professional judge or judges they sit with, which may be a good thing or a bad one. One of the FAQs for Schöffen at www.schoeffen.de relates to dress – no prescriptions as to clothing can be made, although the Schöffen should not wear transparent blouses or very short trousers. The Schöffen in Bavaria can normally be spotted because they are the ones wearing jeans and pullovers.

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